Best Chef 2019 | Carlos García | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Miami | Miami New Times
Zachary Fagenson

Did Carlos García intend to become a standard-bearer for his native Venezuela's cuisine? Who knows. But the bespectacled chef's Brickell restaurant, Obra Kitchen Table, is a standout in a neighborhood where big money and trends often trump ingredients and good cooking. While he and his team are plating dishes such as classic Venezuelan chicken soup ($14) and a clam salpicón with smoked avocado in a crisp arepa ($19), García is also lending a hand in the kitchen at Camillus House through his nonprofit, Recipes for Change. His award-winning restaurant Alto still operates in the heart of Caracas amid political strife and social upheaval. He also works with other chefs to make a dent in the South American country's massive food shortages through the nonprofit Barriga Llena, Corazón Contento (Fully Belly, Happy Heart). Obra's hours are noon to 3 p.m. and 6 to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to 11:30 p.m. Friday, and 6 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday.

Readers' choice: Geoff Lee (Byblos)

Zachary Fagenson

This eye-popping technicolor Colombian spot is the place to be when La Selección is on TV or when you need to fill your pantry with hard-to-find Colombian snacks and ingredients. Otherwise, pop in early in the morning for a sweet coffee and a puffy pandebono ($1.50), and return later in the day for a heaping bandeja paisa ($12.95) with the crispest pork skin this side of the equator. Make Sanpocho your final stop after a long night out, when you can find a griddle set up on the sidewalk and cooks frying sausages, burgers, and eggs to ensure you stave off that hangover. Hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday,

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Housed inside the Mandarin Oriental, Brickell Key's La Mar boasts a patio offering one of Miami's loveliest skyline views. It's the Miami outpost of Peruvian celebrity chef Gastón Acurio, but you won't see him here often. Instead, his youthful, energetic protégé, Diego Oka, runs the show. Oka creates Peruvian specialties that are almost too pretty to eat, and as far as feasts for the eyes go, La Chalanita ($28) is a great place to start. The meal offers two Nikkei causas (a traditional potato-salad-like dish) that can be served with salmon tartare or vegetarian-style with beet pâté, sunchoke tartare, carrots, and tomatoes. New dishes worth exploring are torrejas de choclo — Peruvian corn fritters topped with seafood, confit vegetables, and leche de tigre ($22) — and conch with garlic leche de tigre, purple chips, chalaca, olive oil, jalapeño, and radish ($18). Hours are 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. for breakfast, noon to 3:30 p.m. for lunch, and 6 to 11 p.m. for dinner daily.


Ceviche is often served as an appetizer throughout South Florida, but at Itamae inside St. Roch Market in the Design District, the lime-marinated seafood dish takes center stage. Named "Chiclayo ceviche" for the Peruvian hometown of chefs Fernando Chang and son and daughter Nando and Valerie, this dish features the catch of the day served in a bowl with base choices of sushi rice, brown rice, organic greens, or zucchini noodles. Guests can opt to add thinly sliced red onion, cilantro, Peruvian corn, diced sweet potato, and tangy leche de tigre served on the side. The dish goes for $17, but an extra $2 brings sliced avocado and capers. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Readers' choice: Cvi.che 105

Photo by Miami Chef

Celebrated Venezuelan chef Carlos García made his Miami debut with the opening of his first U.S. restaurant, Obra Kitchen Table. From 2013 to 2016, García's Alto in Caracas held a spot on Latin America's "World's 50 Best Restaurants" list. Now in Miami, García offers upscale comfort food in Brickell's Jade building right off SW 14th Street near the waterfront. The 3,000-square-foot restaurant boasts an open kitchen with a wrap-around counter, allowing diners to watch chefs in action and discuss the food while they eat. The Venezuelan-influenced menu centers on dishes cooked on a Josper grill and includes rigatoni and clams ($29), fried snapper with tostones ($35), sea urchin fried egg French fries ($22), and Wagyu flank steak with brown buttered onions ($28). Top off the meal with desserts such as arroz con leche ($12) and citrus pie ($13). Hours are noon to 3 p.m. and 6 to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, noon to 11:30 p.m. Friday, and 6 to 11:30 p.m. Saturday.

Best Restaurant in South Miami-Dade



Ceviche nachos ($15) and croquetas with guava marmalade ($10) are just a couple of the dishes chef Jorgi Ramos serves at his rustic American bistro in South Miami. Located in Downtown Dadeland, the 2,300-square-foot spot is related to Ramos' second concept in the same complex, Abi Maria, an old-school-inspired Cuban cocktail bar with late-night programming. Make it an evening with dinner at Barley: Begin with a couple of orders of the daily mac and cheese, which ranges from carbonara to croqueta ($12 to $18), along with the charred broccolini ($12) and the double-patty cheddar burger ($18). Then make your way to Abi Maria for the Guantánamo ($10), a frozen cocktail made with bourbon, mango, agave, and mint. Hours are 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Readers' choice: Ghee Indian Kitchen

Celebrity, author, humanitarian, chef. These are just a few words that describe José Andrés. The brilliant chef has devoted his life to feeding people both at his cutting-edge restaurants and in the aftermath of disasters through his organization World Central Kitchen. His South Beach restaurant, the Bazaar by José Andrés, transports guests into a whimsical world filled with giant shell chandeliers and a bull wearing a pink wrestling mask. The rooms set the tone for the food, which can only be described as fanciful yet grounded in reality. One example is the frozen blue cheese sandwich ($14 for dinner). Basically a blue cheese ice-cream sandwich, it's Andres' reframing of a humble childhood treat into a masterpiece of sweet and savory tastes. The menu is filled with small wonders in which the chef makes the mundane magnificent: A taco is stuffed with precious Ibérico ham and Ossetra caviar ($50), a PB&J sandwich is made decadent with the addition of foie gras ($16), and a simple margarita is topped with salt "air" ($16) as if it were gently kissed by a mermaid. These twists are both playful and elegant. The Bazaar is a restaurant with which you can never grow bored — there's always something new to discover, which is the mark of a truly special establishment. Hours are 7 to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

Readers' choice: Byblos

Bruno Fioravanti

There's a lot to like about this little piece of Brazil in Sunny Isles Beach: the good-looking crowd that streams in and out of this rustic steakhouse, the friendly waiters, and a comprehensive menu that spans the many flavors that make up the vibrant South American country's cuisine. Run by Luciano Silva and his son Victor Faleiro, Viva Brazil serves the traditional rodizio feast but still offers a high-quality assortment of sharable prime steaks and chops, such as the prime New York steak with mushroom pan jus and wild sautéed mushrooms ($52), a slow-roasted rib of beef ($96), and the half rack of domestic lamb with fig demiglace ($46). The mouthwatering menu also includes traditional dishes of the Amazonian, African, and Portuguese varieties, like the camarão com abóbora — sautéed jumbo tiger shrimp over a silky kabocha squash ($38). Complete your meal with crêpes covered in sugarcane reduction, dulce de leche, and vanilla ice cream ($16) or a generous piece of moist coconut cake ($14). You'll want to linger on the patio over a couple of strong, delicious caipirinhas ($14) made with cachaça or vodka in tropical flavors including passionfruit and strawberry before taking a stroll on the waterfront dock. Hours are noon to midnight Sunday through Thursday and noon to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

Photo courtesy of Fiola
Fiola's bar

Miami is having its Michelin moment. Though the famed dining guide has yet to officially rate Miami restaurants, many chefs and eateries that have won the coveted distinction elsewhere have opened outposts in the Magic City. At Fiola Miami, Michelin-starred and James Beard Award-winning chef Fabio Trabocchi has brought his Washington, D.C. power restaurant to Coral Gables. It's a tough reservation to get, as well-heeled residents of million-dollar homes clamor to dine on $60 lobster ravioli, $140 dinner seafood platter, and wine-pairing dinners that cost hundreds of dollars. Don't get yourself in a tizzy over those prices, though — just order some pasta. A steaming dish of perfectly made cacio e pepe ($22) uses Roman shells so that the decadent, salty sheep's Pecorino and cracked black pepper can coat more space than it would with mere linguine. The restaurant also offers half-portions of all of its pastas, so order a few — or all — and share. Sure, you can splurge and get the elk with juniper berry sauce ($48) or savor a portion of Ibérico ham ($26 per two ounces), but Fiola is a surprisingly great place to have a white-collar meal on a blue-collar budget. Hours are noon to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 6 to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 to 11 p.m. Friday, 5 to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for brunch and 6 to 10 p.m. for dinner Sunday.

Anthony's Runway 84 photo

Anthony's Runway 84, by the owner of the Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza chain, is airport-themed, but the restaurant feels more as if Epcot opened a restaurant based on the quaint Brooklyn of yesteryear. There's a dining room, but if you really want your evening's entertainment, have dinner in the lounge. False cockpit windows have you coming in for a landing as you peruse the menu filled with red-sauce Italian fare. Women with teased hair wearing leopard-print dresses and large diamonds on their red lacquered fingers drink pink martinis while Sinatra croons in the background. Your bartender takes your drink order and then sends a different server for your food order (for some reason, you'll also get separate checks for food and drinks, but just go with it). Before dinner, a basket of warm, fresh bread arrives with a dish of olive oil festooned with garlic and grated Parmesan cheese. If you're on a date, agree to both go with garlic breath out and scarf that bread down — it's worth it. Meatballs arrive with a dollop of ricotta ($12 for lunch, $14 for dinner), Sicilian peppers are stuffed with more cheese and garlic ($11), and clams oreganata ($12), baked with breadcrumbs in a garlic and lemon sauce, are authentically Sheepshead Bay. The civolata sausage is presented with broccoli di rabe and roasted peppers. The sausage is spicy, but the peppers are sweet, and the combination is classic ($15). Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 4:30 to 11 p.m. Saturday, and 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday.

Readers' choice: Louie Bossi's Ristorante Bar Pizzeria

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®